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Celibacy Syndrome: What It Is and Why We Should Be Concerned

Celibacy Syndrome: What It Is and Why We Should Be Concerned

Celibacy is abstaining from sexual activity. Herein is why people choose to be celibate and if we should be concerned about celibacy.

According to Sobo (2001), celibacy involves sexual abstinence. Celibacy syndrome is the lack of interest in love, romance, and sex. Celibacy, for some people, may mean that the person is disinterested in anything that may lead to intimacy. For others, it may be avoiding sexual intercourse only. Some people may avoid sexual intercourse only, while others may only avoid sexual intercourse while being intimate in other ways such as through kissing, masturbation, and hugging. Some of the advantages of celibacy include avoiding sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy, but still, there's a huge concern when people choose to be celibate, and the questions that people wonder about include;

Why are People Choosing to be Celibate?

People who choose to be celibate differ from one person to the next. Some may voluntarily avoid relationships and anything that will cause them to eventually have sexual intercourse because they want to avoid issues that surround sex, such as unwanted babies, unrequited love, and sexually transmitted diseases. Others may want to abide by religious or cultural expectations. Some may be having health issues, for instance, vaginismus, i.e., painful sex. If sex is painful, it's a no-brainer that you wouldn't want to get involved in it because sex is supposed to be pleasurable. Others may be having self-esteem problems stemming from how they view their bodies. Some are too shy to approach someone for sex, while others try to avoid the expenses surrounding sex, such as taking someone out, paying bills, buying them something to entice them, and hoping they will want to have sex with you. The bottom line for everyone practicing celibacy, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, is that they avoid sexual intercourse.

Should You Be Concerned About Celibacy?

There's nothing more personal than a person's sexual decisions. For that reason, whether the next person is celibate should not concern anyone else but themselves. Ballano (2021) observed that there could be a connection between the pathological sides of priests and celibacy. Here are some problems that may be associated with celibacy;

Emotional Problems

Emotional problems will spring from lack of intimacy is itself not a problem as some people may not have sex but still enjoy intimacy with someone through hugging, kissing, masturbation and cuddling. But in the end, when they are with people who want to have sex with them, they tend to pull back because they cannot go all the way and have intercourse. If people around you want to have sex, but you do not want that, you tend to avoid them and sink into seclusion. The danger of seclusion is that you could be stressed and depressed, and if left unchecked suicidal thoughts will conquer your mind. It is unlikely that people who have a healthy sex life will have emotional issues. Human beings are meant to interact and be sociable for proper emotional health and culminate in such interactions. Sex has been described as a basic need. If you do not enjoy a basic need, you will suffer from the deficiency, and the first sign is emotional problems.

Maternal Problems

When a woman decides to be celibate, the older she gets, the lower her chances of getting pregnant successfully. The risks involved during pregnancy are higher depending on the age at which she opts to turn celibate as she approaches 35 years old. In Japan, the youth developed the celibacy syndrome, and the country witnessed lower birth rates. Therefore, celibacy among women who hope to have babies in the future is not a great idea. They need to be willing to get into relationships that allow them to be intimate to get pregnant. Late pregnancy is worrying because it may cause maternal deaths and childlessness due to menopause. If a woman chooses to be celibate, she should weigh her future options if she hopes to be a mother. The timing of the celibacy should work in her favor.

Prostate Cancer

A US study suggested a relationship between lack of sex with prostate cancer. It claimed that men who ejaculated often seemed to have a lower chance of having prostate cancer than their peers who did not ejaculate frequently. Ofman (1995) observed 32,000 men in their 20s continuing through 2010. During this time, 4,000 of the 32,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. The good news for the celibate men is that you do not need sex to ejaculate. You can masturbate. The challenge remains for the celibate men that do not masturbate.

What Are Their Alternatives?

Celibacy is a cause for concern because having sexual desires is normal. Part of being human has sexual energies that we must release somehow. Does being celibate turn hot-blooded people into asexual beings? Highly unlikely. Are they masturbating? It's a huge concern because some people who have found themselves in situations where they involuntarily have to forfeit sex, especially in religious circumstances, turn to unacceptable sexual practices. It's wrong to suggest that celibacy can turn adults into pedophiles, but we cannot rule that one out when an adult is involuntarily celibate. They must find a way to get off, and while some may invest in sex toys and probably masturbate, the indisciplined ones may pursue the vulnerable members of society. People involuntarily celibate face the toughest challenge because they want to have sex but shouldn't. Sometimes, the forbidden fruit is the sweetest. Over the years, there have been religious splinter groups from the religions that insist on celibacy. The main objective of the splinter groups is to do away with involuntary celibacy. 


There are a variety of reasons why people are celibate. And while a person's celibacy should not bother anyone else, that does not mean that society will not be worried. According to Haworth (2013), the refusal of Japanese people to have sex is a cause of concern. Sexual desires are inherent in human beings, and we are expected to yearn for sexual pleasures. If someone opts out of seeking sexual intimacy, some questions must be asked by curious people. A person's sexuality may not be anyone's business, but that does not mean people won't wonder. People will not only wonder but will also be concerned. In recent years human beings have expected people to have more sex than in the past. In the past, you had sex to please your husband and have children, but nowadays, people are sexually liberal. People are having more sex than ever, and if you aren't, people will wonder.


Ballano, V. (2021). Acedia, loneliness, and the mandatory celibacy of Catholic parish clergy: a theological-sociological exploratory analysis. F1000Research10(1195), 1195.

Haworth, A. (2013). Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex. The Guardian20, 2013.

Hoban, B. (1989). Priesthood at Risk: The Celibacy Factor. The Furrow, 195-203.

Ofman, U. S. (1995). Sexual quality of life in men with prostate cancer. Cancer75(S7), 1949-1953.Sobo, E. J., & Bell, S. (2001). Celibacy, culture, and society: The anthropology of sexual abstinence. Univ of Wisconsin Press.